New Sam's Club outlet marks rise of Zhenru Subcenter
Sam's Club, Walmart's membership-only warehouse retailer, has opened its fifth store in Shanghai in Putuo District's Zhenru Town.
The opening marks a milestone for the rapidly developing Zhenru Subcenter in the northwest downtown, which aims to become a core public activity center of the Yangtze River Delta region.
As Sam's Club's closest store to the city center, the newly unveiled Zhenru outlet at 355 Zhenhua Road S., all underground, covers a total floor area of over 50,000 square meters, equivalent to about seven football pitches.
Andrew Miles, president of Sam's Club China, said the business had been putting members first in China for 27 years.
"We have cultivated a team that understands our products, understands our members and loves to provide them with service," Miles said.
He added that Sam's Club's strong global sourcing allowed the retailer to deliver new and high-quality products to its members.
Zhang Qing, chief procurement officer at Sam's Club China, said that as a warehouse-style membership store, it featured spacious shopping areas, rich product types and very competitive prices.
"Everything can be found here, from imported beef and Swiss rolls, to platinum award-winning coffee beans; from kitchen appliances and internationally renowned eyewear with price advantages, to mother and baby supplies, toys and camping supplies," Zhang said.
The Sam's Club Zhenru outlet also has unique products, such as the Celestron astronomical telescope, a professional scientific astronomical observatory telescope with an automatic star search and tracking function, which can fully meet the new and niche needs of buyers.
Walmart China has accelerated its expansion by opening six new Sam's Club locations last year as the member fee-based model gained traction, the most since Walmart entered the country more than two decades ago.
The new outlet is beneath Haina Central Park, a key greenbelt in the subcenter. It is expected to become one of the most popular Sam's Club outlets in Asia.
The project was built within the Max City complex, an iconic urban renewal project developed from a former urban village and fish market in Putuo District.
The complex above the Zhenru Station of Metro Line 11 and 14 includes business facilities covering 300,000 square meters, shopping malls and a theater as well as residential communities, the greenbelt and underground space.
A resident surnamed Gui said the site of the new Sam's Club outlet was once occupied by nine major wholesale markets near Tongchuan Road, including the biggest fruit market in east China. Back then, it was beleaguered with pollution and noise issues.
"We had to wear rain boots to cross a muddy path to reach the markets even on sunny days. Flies were buzzing around everywhere," Gui said.
"It is hard to imagine the former old markets have become a trendy warehouse-style membership supermarket. The living and shopping environments have been largely improved," she said.
Public activity center
Construction is in full swing for the Zhenru Subcenter to become a public activity center of the Yangtze River Delta region and a new cultural and commercial landmark, according to Putuo government.
"Zhenru is expected to become a new commercial landmark and consumption center of Shanghai," said Jiang Dongdong, Party secretary of Putuo.
The subcenter also aims to become Shanghai's "key engine" and main source of scientific innovation.
The Zhenru Subcenter is the fourth in the city along with Xujiahui in Xuhui District, Wujiaochang in Yangpu District and Huamu in the Pudong New Area. They will become a new driving force for the city's development along with the five "new cities" of Jiading, Qingpu, Songjiang, Fengxian and Nanhui.
The subcenter, covering 6.2 square kilometers, extends to Fuping and Jiaotong roads to its north, Zhenbei Road (Middle-Ring Road) to its west, Wuning Road-Zhongshan Road N. (Inner-Ring Road) to its south and Langao Road to its east.
It is the transport hub for northwest Shanghai thanks to its premium location as well as the Shanghai-Nanjing Railway, the Shanghai West Railway Station and multiple expressways that pass through.
In addition to the convenient railway and road networks, its rich culture, excellent environment and multifunctional planning will contribute to realize the subcenter's bid to become Shanghai's "reception room" to the Yangtze River Delta.
Five Metro lines, multiple sykwalks, pedestrian malls and innovative underground vehicular channels with smart traffic systems are under development for the subcenter. They will further reduce the distance between Zhenru and other key Yangtze Delta Region cities to within an hour.
A landmark 280-meter-tall office building has been completed along with another two 230-meter and 200-meter highrises, said Zhen Wei, deputy manager of the planning department of the Zhenru Subcenter.
"The subcenter will become a new highland of Shanghai's shopping brand," Zhen told a press briefing on the sidelines of the opening of the Sam's Club.
A number of commercial facilities, including the Sam's Club and Freshhippo membership stores, have opened to provide better shopping experiences for residents.
Many other key commercial projects, including Orstar City, Greenland Being Fun, the Tianyue Center and Upper West Shanghai, will also open in the core of the subcenter.
Additional culture, sports and education projects are rising from the subcenter, including a baseball court, the under-renovation Shanghai Sports Palace and a new sports park.
A high-end apartment complex would also be built in the subcenter, expected to attract about 60,000 top professionals to work on scientific research and businesses in the region, according to Zhen.
These facilities will create a 15-minute community life circle in Zhenru. The concept implies that within a 15-minute walk, residents can have access to various services related to living, working, studying, traveling and elderly care.
To further improve the ecological environment, a major greenbelt is being built across Zhenru on the land that was formerly occupied by a seafood market as well as a village that contained illegal buildings.
The Zhenru Greenbelt will cover 215,000 square meters, equivalent to about 30 football pitches. The 6-kilometer-long belt, to run across the town, will include the existing Zhenru Park, as well as land used for the city's once largest seafood market, the Tongchuan Road Aquatic Product Market, and Hongqi, one of the largest urban villages in downtown.
Tongchuan was once considered the best wholesale and retail fresh seafood market in Shanghai. However, local residents had also long complained about the market's stench and noise.
Hongqi Village, a former notorious run-down urban settlement, was among the first batch of demonstrations in the makeover of the city's remaining urban villages.
These sites have also been replaced by key scientific and digital projects, such as Shanghai's first digital advertising industrial park in downtown area and a world-class digital service and trade industry center.
The Digital Advertisement Zone Shanghai, covering a total of 1 square kilometer, is mainly based at the Hongqi Center and the adjacent Max City project, which rises from the Hongqi Village.
The new park will help Putuo attract the world's leading companies in the digital advertising sectors with an optimized environment and full-chain services, especially in intellectual property rights.
A public space for the advertisement park has been set up on the 12th and 16th floors of the Hongqi Center, covering about 4,000 square meters, for shared offices, livestreaming programs, conference, road shows and exhibitions. Enterprises settled in the park include Leo Digital, Vision Star, Kuaishou Magnetic Engine, MSL, Qianma Network, Vland and other leading digital advertising firms.
A Digital Trade Development Center and a Digital Economy Innovation Research Academy will be built at the area in a new cooperative deal between the Zhenru Subcenter and Hainan International Commodity Exchange to boost the digital sector in Putuo and drive the district's digital transformation.